Sun. Feb 25th, 2024
5 reasons to visit Arrowhead Provincial Park this fall

Located just outside of Huntsville, Arrowhead Provincial Park offers visitors the opportunity to experience the beautiful fall colors in the heart of Muskoka.

Explore 9 miles of hiking trails, fresh sandy beaches overlooking Lake Arrowhead, and private, covered woodland campgrounds.

Here are five park features you won’t want to miss:

*New in 2023*

This year the entrance door has been moved to the Visitor Center.

That’s where the park store is also, so it’s your one-stop shop for anything you might need! This applies to Arrowhead merchandise, Ontario Parks swag, and last-minute camping needs, as well as permits and registration.

But remember: the park now has electronic permits. So if you register online (don’t forget to add your vehicle license plate!), there is no need to register at the front gate!

1. Big Bend Overlook

Arrowhead is known for the spectacular geological phenomenon known as “Big Bend.”

View of geological feature with fall colors in background.

Created from years of glacial river sediment, accumulation and erosion, the East River “glacial delta” has become a major attraction for the park.

aerial view of geological feature

Interpretive panels on the observation deck detail the intriguing history of this natural wonder.

This view is stunning in the fall, especially on a cool morning walk!

view of autumn colors in the forest

See how the colors shine in the rising sun!

2. The picturesque Stubb Falls

As you walk along the Little East River through a beautiful hardwood forest, enjoy the well-maintained trail that leads to Stubb’s Falls.

View of the bridge over the river in autumn.

Please note that there are stairs on this trail that lead to the main viewing area.

This easy to moderate hike takes about 45 minutes.

fall colors over waterfallIn autumn, brilliant colors surround Stubb Falls as the powerful water rushes over the polished rocks, continually shaping the landscape.

The large boulders surrounding the falls have a long and interesting history, brought to their final resting place by the last ancient glacier to advance over the park.

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If you’re up for an adventure, paddle down the Little East River, tour the falls, and continue to the Big East River. The staff will be happy to help you plan the best route for you!

3. Stunning Lake Arrowhead

While it may be too cold to sunbathe on the beach, the views of Lake Arrowhead from the notable red pedestrian bridge are worth it due to the decreasing temperatures.

Bridge over the lake

This quiet, motorboat-free lake is surrounded by a 5.1 km multi-use trail, which takes 1.5 to 2 hours on foot and 30 to 45 minutes by bike.

While the fall season can create muddy and slippery sections on the trail, the vibrant colors are sure to surprise!

lake with forested shore of autumn color

Keep an eye out for wildlife along this trail as it enters the quiet, peaceful habitat of many park residents.

Rent canoes or kayaks in the park or bring your own this fall to explore the lake further.

canoe on the lake

Remember, the water is much colder as we enter the fall season! Check out this post for tips on fall paddling safety!

4. Wonderful Mayflower

The display of fall colors on small, spring-fed Mayflower Lake is a photographer’s dream!

In September and October, when the leaves begin to change in Muskoka, there are plenty of places to take the perfect photo. But at Mayflower Lake you won’t find a bad angle!

autumn colors

On the coast, the 1.5km Mayflower Lake Trail offers a rugged hike over hills, across boardwalks and through the trees; It is excellent for bird watching.

Be sure to wear proper footwear on this hike as it can get slippery during the fall!

lake view

Along the western shore of the lake flows a small stream that has been dammed by both humans and beavers.

Decaying animal and plant material has accumulated in front of this dam, creating a shallow cattail swamp..

view of the lake from the trail

If fishing is more your thing, Mayflower Lake is stocked with brook trout and in recent years Lake Chub and Red Bellied Dace have been found.

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Remember that this wetland habitat is extremely fragile and should not be disturbed. Avoid the lake shore and stay on the trail for fishing.

5. Explore the park store.

Located at the Arrowhead Visitor Center between East River and Roe Campgrounds, the park store is packed with options to commemorate your stay.

visitors Center

Check out the in-house designs and local delicacies while you enjoy your time in the park.

You can also rent equipment here, like canoes and kayaks (or extension cords if you need them)!

park store interior

Park staff will be happy to help you with directions or questions you may have during your stay.

Remember to stop by and say hello!

Planning an evening visit?

The campgrounds contain electric and non-electric sites, as well as 13 camping cabins, conveniently close to trails and access to Lake Arrowhead.

Comfort stations with hot showers and flushing toilets are centrally located. There is also a trailer toilet station available at East River Campground.

day use area

The day-use area, with access to beaches, rentals, the park store, and a reservable picnic shelter, is central to the park.

An off-leash pet exercise area is also available along Lake Arrowhead next to Lumby Campground.

Adventures all year round

While we hope you visit Arrowhead for its spectacular fall colors, it is also known for its excellent winter facilities.

Once the snow falls, this is the ideal place to enjoy cross-country ski trails, snowshoe trails, outdoor skating rinks, and accommodations with heated roofs.

family in cabin

Check out this post for more information.

While you’re in the area…

Huntsville is a five-minute drive from the park, with attractions like Lion’s Lookout, Muskoka Heritage Place, and downtown.

Oxtongue River Irregular FallsOxtongue River Ragged Falls Provincial Park

Oxtongue River-Ragged Falls Provincial Park, located on Highway 60 on the edge of Algonquin Provincial Park, is about a 30-minute drive away. These falls are among the top 10 in Ontario!

The fall colors along this corridor are world famous and worth the detour on the way home. Visit this post for more information on visiting Algonquin in the fall.

view of autumn colorsAlgonquin Provincial Park

Remember, Arrowhead offers day-use permits in advance, so a reservation is required to guarantee access to the park.

Reservations can be made up to five days in advance through our reservation website.

Book your trip today!